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Bernardston special town meeting Monday

BERNARDSTON — A new school security project, old town records, the date of the annual town meeting and more will be up for debate at a Monday special town meeting.

The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the elementary school.

One article could save the town $5,000. It asks that $10,000 from a school capital projects account be used to tighten security at Bernardston Elementary School. The topic is being brought up ahead of the annual town meeting so the town can use a $5,000 grant to help pay for the project. The grant specifies that the money must be spent by mid-June, and the town would have to hurry the project along if it waited until the annual meeting for a vote.

The new system, estimated at a total $15,000, would install a video camera at the front entrance, and three monitors. It would be used to allow the locked front door to be opened remotely after confirming that the person at the door poses no threat.

The system would also provide handicapped accessibility, incorporating an automatic door opener to help the disabled.

Another article would rescind a previous special town meeting vote.

At a Jan. 2012 special town meeting, voters decided to set the date of the annual town meeting as the first Thursday in June. This was done to minimize debate on the often-contentious school budget. The four-town-district’s budget only needs approval of three of the member towns to pass. By holding the annual meeting in June, Northfield, Leyden, and Warwick would have already voted on the budget, possibly locking it in.

However, in order to act in a more timely manner on other matters, the town may move the meeting back.

If that article passes, another will ask voters to allow the Board of Selectmen to set the date of the annual meeting.

Voters will be asked to approve $8,000 from available funds to be used to reorganize town records. At present, records are scattered between Town Hall and the Cushman Library. The reorganization would include inventory, catalog and storage of records that need to be kept, and disposal of records that are no longer needed.

Another article would move that, starting July 1, fees collected by the town clerk, treasurer and tax collector be put into the town’s general fund, rather than individual accounts.

There will be two zoning articles on the warrant, each requiring a two-thirds approval vote to pass. One would change the town’s flood plain district. The other would update the town’s water resource protection district, increasing the minimum amount of permeable land per site.

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